You might think of Bauhaus as a style, or maybe a school of thought. But Bauhaus was actually a physical school: an institute of design that gave some of history’s most important designers a grounding in aesthetics that continues to influence the way our world looks and works.
The Bauhaus was one of the first proper design schools, and while its instruction was deeply devoted to functionality, it was among the first to set out and prove that functional need not be boring.
The school steadily progressed under founder Walter Groupius, who, in 1923, saw what Russian and Dutch designers were doing and re-envisioned the Bauhaus’ original mission of uniting and craft, altering it to unite art and technology. Good design that could be mass-produced and made available to the general public.
It was then that many of the Bauhaus’ most iconic and lasting designs emerged. Centred around clean geometric forms, balanced visual composition, and materials such as wood, metal and glass, Bauhaus design embraced a futuristic look that was still very much interested in the creation of functional products for the real world. Encouraging a scientific approach to design, the mechanical and industrial aspects were not things to be covered up, but rather showcased.
Even after the school closed in 1933 due to German political pressure, its influence continued to be felt. In the 1960s, Dieter Rams embraced many of the same principals and ideals found in Bauhaus design. Florence Knoll put her own American spin on Bauhaus design, building one of the largest and most respected furniture companies in existence. And, of course, there’s Apple. Everything from the early Mac OS logo, to its more recent array of computers, phones, tablets and accessories all smack of the early innovations put forth by the little German design school that could.
Bauhaus Chess Set
Designed in 1922 by Josef Hartwig, the best part about the chess pieces is that the design of each also indicates the type of movement it is capable of. [Chess House] [clear]
The Bauhaus Cradle emerged in the early days of the German design school, but the simplicity of this magazine holder, both with regard to the form and colours used, doesn’t undermine the inherent playfulness of the design. [clear]
Bauhaus Wasilly Chair
Of all the chairs to come out of the Bauhaus, this is the one that commonly comes to mind. Designed my Marcel Breuer, the Wasilly chair is a mix of steel and leather, using no more material than is absolutely needed, while providing maximum comfort. It’s a design you’ll still find in homes today. [Design Within Reach] [clear]
Bauhaus Nesting Tables
Nothing quite says “smart” like five separate tables that fit into the footprint of one. And the use of colours with each table is something that would be revisited by Ray and Charles Eames decades later. [YLiving] [clear]
Probably the most iconic piece of lighting to come out of the Bauhaus, William Wagenfeld’s lamp, constructed of precisely cut glass and metal, is among the first objects to emerge under the Bauhaus’ technology-focused regime. [Klassik] [clear]
Bauhaus Tea Infuser
Designed in 1924 by Marianne Brandt, the Bauhaus tea infuser has a built-in strainer, non-drip spout and heat-resistant handle made of ebony, embracing the school’s principals of combining functionality and aesthetic. [British Museum] [clear]
Designed in 1929 by future Bauhaus head Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and partner Lily Reich, the gentle, swooping lines Barcelona chair served as a precursor of what was to come with the mid-century modern furniture movement. [Wikipedia] [clear]
Bauhaus Door Knob
Arguably the most famous piece designed by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus doorknobs geometric forms and industrial flourishes, such as exposed screws, set the tone for what the Bauhaus aesthetic was about. The design DNA found in this knob is still prevalent in contemporary objects, such as the iPhone 4S. [Zangra][clear]
Top image: Wikipedia